02 August 2023
Sexual violence is a scourge on our society. It occurs in workplaces, in homes, in schools and, horrifically, at horrendous rates on university campuses, a place where young adults are expected to mature and grow in a safe and supported environment.
The National Student Safety Survey from 2021 found that 275 young students are sexually assaulted on campus every week, predominantly in accommodation circumstances. Six years ago, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner declared the situation 'urgent' after conducting a survey of university students which found that one in 20 female university students have been sexually assaulted on campus. So, since 2017, that is 85,000 students that have experienced sexual assault. These statistics are shocking and should stop us all in our tracks.
We cannot make a difference on domestic violence and on gendered issues if we don't address this. The student led STOP Campaign have been in parliament today, and they are claiming that many universities are, in fact, actively inhibiting preventative programs from proceeding, despite the $1.5 million consent campaign targeting the issue, which was quietly discarded by Universities Australia. The STOP Campaign are calling on the minister to urgently pull the university sector together and require strong action on the ground.
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